It’s been 4 years since he dropped and I still have never purchased anything by The Game. It’s a shame because even though he’ll never be a technically sound emcee, good Gold almighty, can The Game pick out some beats!
Today’s entry in the Passion of the Weiss Top 50 Hip Hop Album of the 00’s from yours truly is The Game’s debut LP The Documentary. It is perhaps the best instrumental mainstream hip hop album of the past 10 years. I could care less about The Game or his name dropping or his past or his weird fixation with his rap heroes who ended up funding, developing, and writing most of the album. What I find fascinating is that a novice rapper (he had only been spitting for 4 years by the album’s release date) was beating the shit out of more polished vets at the most critical aspect of album making: beat selection.
Think beat selection isn’t huge? Compare The Love Movement to Midnight Marauders or Iron Flag to 36 Chambers. Great MC’s usually remain great MC’s over the years–their ear for beats, well…that’s another story. The Documentary’s soundscapes SHOULD have been for Jay’s comeback album, or 50 Cent’s follow-up to Get Rich or Die Trying, or at least Chuck Norrising any of Nas’ output this decade (maybe…in retrospect…letting Chris Webber beats make an album over Timbo, Hi Tek, Focus, Needlz, Just Blaze, etc wasn’t a good idea?).
When I listen to The Game’s debut, I’m doing so as a white girl at the club: fuck lyrics, that beat is catchy! “Put You On the Game” by Timbaland is possibly my favorite beat he ever made. “Dreams” by Kanye not only has the illest bassline of his career, but it could’ve been the second single from Scarface’s The Fix. “Westside Story” is typical Dre/Storch fare, but that snare drum is cleaner and sharper than Sledge Hammer’s hammer. “Hate it or Love It”–a beat not out of place on a Little Brother album was ALL OVER RADIO AND TV!
As an MC, Game has his moments of illy, but Dre could’ve switched him out with Cedric Ceballos and this album would still bang. His follow-up LPs have largely featured more outstanding production though it appears his Boost Mobile phone has been cut off and Dre an’ them aren’t following him on Twitter anymore. But think about this: if “frustrating album” emcees like Ludacris, Method Man, and Busta Rhymes could put together the audio lineup for ANY of their LPs that Game exhibited on his first LP…Jesus Christ on wooden crutches!